Embassies & Consulates
The website http://embassy-finder.com maintains an up-to-date list of consulate and embassies around the world. Embassies are located in Vilnius. For Lithuanian embassies abroad, see the website of the Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (www.urm.lt).
Emergency & Important Numbers
Entry & Exit Formalities
The Lithuanian Customs Department (www.cust.lt) in Vilnius has online updates.
From outside the EU you can import duty-free into Lithuania: 1L of spirits, 2L of wine or champagne, and 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco. Meat and dairy products cannot be brought in as hand luggage from outside the EU. Upon entering, you must declare foreign currency in cash above €10,000, and the same amount when exiting.
When travelling within the EU, there are no restrictions on what you can take in and out of Lithuania providing it’s for personal use.
Lithuania limits amber exports, but a few souvenirs should be OK providing the value doesn’t exceed €1000. You need a Culture Ministry permit, and to pay 10% to 20% duty, to export artworks over 50 years old. Contact the Committee of Cultural Heritage (www.kpd.lt) for info.
Not required for citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
- When visiting a Lithuanian bring an odd number of flowers: even-numbered bouquets are for dead-solemn occasions – and the dead!
- Don’t shake hands across the threshold; it brings bad luck.
- Always maintain eye contact when toasting your host or they’ll think you’re shifty.
Internet use has developed at a staggering pace in Lithuania (at least in the country’s larger urban centres), outstripping much of Western Europe. With the introduction of wireless technology, and more affordable PCs and laptops, an ever-increasing number of Lithuanians are becoming internet savvy. What this means for travellers is a decrease in the number of internet cafes and an increase in wi-fi hotspots. Most major cities still sport a cafe dedicated to internet access (on average €1.50 per hour), but in rural areas you’ll be hard-pressed to find one.
Almost all hotels, including even most budget options, advertise internet access in rooms. This usually means wi-fi (often free but occasionally charged for), but there are a few hotels that still use LAN connections (and have Ethernet cables to borrow at the reception desk). Of course, you’ll need your laptop or wi-fi enabled smartphone to use such services. The quality of the wi-fi connection can vary considerably depending on how far your room is from the wi-fi router. If an internet connection is important, be sure to make this clear at the reception desk and request a room with a strong signal.
A couple of top-end hotels in Vilnius and Kaunas have computer-equipped business centres for guests to use at a fairly substantial fee. Many budget and midrange places, meanwhile, have a computer terminal in the lobby, on which guests can surf for free. Another option is to ask to use the hotel’s computer to check email (sometimes possible, sometimes not).
For Lithuania nothing can beat the interactive and searchable maps covering the entire country at www.maps.lt.
In print, Lithuania is best covered by the Lietuva (1:300,000) road map, published by Vilnius-based map publisher Briedis and sold by the publisher online. Bookshops, tourist offices and supermarkets in Lithuania sell it for €4.50. Jāņa sēta’s Lietuva (1:500,000) is also good, and is available for around the same price.
For stress-free navigation buy Jāņa sēta’s miesto planas (city maps) covering Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda at a scale of 1:25,000, with a 1:10,000 inset of the centre, and Palanga (1:15,000), Šiauliai and Panevėžys (1:20,000). They cost €1.70 to €3.50 apiece in bookshops and some tourist offices.
Note too that most international SatNav and GPS systems (including TomTom and Garmin) offer Lithuanian maps as part of their European downloads. If you’re planning on renting a car, pack your home GPS and use it on the road here just like you do at home.
ATMs are widespread. Cash preferred to credit cards for small purchases.
Lithuania joined the Eurozone in January 2015, trading in its litas for the euro.
ATMs are ubiquitous in cities and towns, and even the smallest hamlet is likely to have at least one. The majority accept Visa and MasterCard. Change money at banks, though the easiest way to carry money is in the form of a debit card, and withdraw cash as needed from an ATM.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted for goods and services. The only place you may experience a problem is at a very small establishment or for a very small transaction. American Express cards are typically accepted at larger hotels and restaurants, though they are not as widely recognised as other cards.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
- In restaurants, tip 10% of the bill to reward good service. Leave the tip in the pouch that the bill is delivered in or hand the money directly to the waiter.
- Tip hairdressers and other personal services around 10% of the total.
- Taxis drivers won’t expect a tip, but it’s fine to add €2 to €4 to reward special service.
- Tipping in hotels is essentially restricted to the top-end establishments, which usually have decent room service and porters, who all expect to be tipped.
Banks 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday
Bars 11am to midnight Sunday to Thursday, 11am to 2am Friday and Saturday
Clubs 10pm to 5am Thursday to Saturday
Post offices 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 9pm Saturday, 10am to 5pm Sunday
Restaurants noon to 11pm; later on weekends
Shops 9am or 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday; some open Sunday
Lithuania’s postal system (www.post.lt) is quick and cheap. Posting letters or postcards costs €0.75 to other EU countries, €0.84 outside the EU and €0.39 domestically. Mail to the USA takes about 10 days, to Europe about a week. State-run EMS is the cheapest express mail service; find it in Vilnius at the central post office.
New Year’s Day 1 January
Independence Day (Nepriklausomybės diena) 16 February; anniversary of 1918 independence declaration
Lithuanian Independence Restoration Day 11 March
Easter Sunday March/April
Easter Monday March/April
International Labour Day 1 May
Mothers’ Day First Sunday in May
Fathers' Day First Sunday in June
Feast of St John (Midsummer) 24 June
Statehood Day 6 July; commemoration of coronation of Grand Duke Mindaugas in the 13th century
Assumption of Blessed Virgin 15 August
All Saints’ Day 1 November
Christmas (Kalėdos) 25 and 26 December
Lithuania also celebrates such days as the Day of the Lithuanian Flag (1 January), St Casimir’s Day (4 March), Earth Day (20 March), Partisans’ Day (fourth Sunday in May), Black Ribbon Day (23 August) and the Genocide Day of Lithuanian Jews (23 September). People still work on these days, but the national flag flutters outside most public buildings and private homes.
Lithuania’s digitised telephone network, run by TEO (www.teo.lt), is quick and efficient, although knowing what code to dial can be confusing.
To call other cities from a landline within Lithuania, dial 8, wait for the tone, then dial the area code and telephone number.
To make an international call from Lithuania, dial 00 followed by the country code.
To call Lithuania from abroad, dial Lithuania’s country code (370), the area code and telephone number.
Then of course there are mobile telephones. No self-respecting Lithuanian would be seen without a mobile surgically attached to their ear, and indeed, many a hotel and restaurant – especially in more rural parts – lists a mobile telephone as its main number. Mobile numbers comprise a three-digit code and a five-digit number.
To call a mobile within Lithuania, dial 8 followed by the eight-digit mobile number. To call a mobile from abroad, dial 370 followed by the eight-digit mobile number.
Mobile companies Bitė (www.bite.lt), Omnitel (www.omnitel.lt) and Tele 2 (www.tele2.lt) sell prepaid SIM cards; Tele2 offers free roaming with its prepaid cards, making it the best choice for those travelling in Estonia, Latvia and Poland too. It also offers the cheapest rates.
Public telephones – increasingly rare given the widespread use of mobiles – are blue and only accept phone cards, sold at newspaper kiosks.
Most towns have a tourist office with staff who usually speak at least some English. Tourist offices range from the superbly helpful, useful and obliging to the downright useless and are coordinated by the Vilnius-based State Department of Tourism (www.tourism.lt). Tourist offices will often help in finding a room. Among the best tourist offices in the country are those in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Trakai, all of which stock a wealth of highly useful brochures.
For more info on Lithuania’s four Unesco World Heritage sites – Neringa, Vilnius’ Old Town, Kernavė and Struve Geodetic Arcs – visit the Vilnius-based Lithuanian National Commission for Unesco.